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Building of the Berlin Wall

Photos from the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall"
For more information, visit the CIA's Historical Collections page (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/historical-collection-publications/index.html).
By: Central Intelligence Agency
Soviet Tanks near Checkpoint Charlie
131 Media in collectionpage 1 of 2

Christmas Tree in West Berlin

Dec. 24, 1961. The holiday season offers stark symbols of a divided city, with a Christmas tree in the West standing opposite a watch tower in the East. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berl... more

Christmas Eve 1961

On Christmas Eve 1961, West Berliners wave to loved ones on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical ... more

East Germans Sign

Dec. 8, 1961. East Germans install a sign urging the West to work for peace and understanding and to accept a Soviet peace proposal for addressing the division of Germany. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: B... more

Prinzen-Heinrich Heine-Strasse Border Crossing

Dec. 5, 1961. A truck squeezes through the expanded barricades at the Prinzen-Heinrich Heine-Strasse border crossing. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, vis... more

Friedrichstrasse Crossing Point

Dec. 4, 1961. American soldiers watch as construction workers, heavily guarded by East German security forces, build a massive stone barricade at the Friedrichstrasse crossing point in East Berlin. From the boo... more

Checkpoint Charlie

Dec. 4, 1961. Under the eye of East German soldiers and police officers, construction workers install a tank barrier on the eastern side of Checkpoint Charlie. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of ... more

East German Police Tear Up Train Tracks

December 1961.The East German police tear up train tracks leading to West Berlin after 25 people escaped across the border. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more informatio... more

West Berliners

Nov. 30, 1961. As the holiday season approaches, West Berliners try to stay in contact with friends in East Berlin by waving to them across the border. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berl... more

East Germans Build New Wall

Nov. 20, 1961. East Germans build a new wall designed to protect the Brandenburg Gate from a Western attack. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's ... more

East German Guard Workmen

November 1961. In full battle dress, East German troops guard workmen behind the screen who are reinforcing the Berlin Wall. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more informati... more

East Germans Fortify Border

November 1961. East Germans fortify the border at the Brandenburg Gate, expanding the concrete wall and adding a barbed-wire fence. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more i... more

East Germany Border Defenses

Nov. 20, 1961. East Germany strengthens its border defenses by building two rows of tank barriers at Potsdamer Platz in East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more i... more

East German Soldier at Lindenstrasse

Nov. 20, 1961. An East German soldier guards the border at Lindenstrasse as workers install trenches, rails and a new concrete wall that will run from the Brandenburg Gate to Friedrich Strasse. From the booklet... more

East German Anti-Tank Fortifications

Nov. 20, 1961. With armed guards looking on, East German workers set up anti-tank fortifications on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall after the confrontation between U.S. and Soviet tanks at Checkpoint Charli... more

East German Propaganda

Nov. 20, 1961. A sign in East Berlin declares, “Whoever attacks us will be destroyed,” an example of the East German propaganda posted along the border to intimidate the West. From the booklet "A City Torn Apar... more

East German Police Officer

Nov. 18, 1961. An East German police officer patrols the border near Kreuzbergstrasse. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collection... more

East Berliners

Oct. 28, 1961. Curious East Berliners look on as Soviet tanks pull out after the 17-hour standoff at Checkpoint Charlie. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, ... more

American Soldier at Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 28, 1961. An American soldier monitors the movements of Soviet tanks during the confrontation at Checkpoint Charlie. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information,... more

Soviet Tanks Leave Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 28, 1961. Soviet tanks move out after a show of strength as the standoff at Checkpoint Charlie comes to an end. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visi... more

U. S. Tanks at Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 27, 1961. On the western side of the border at Checkpoint Charlie, U. S. tanks stand guard as the face-off with the Soviets continues into the night. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Be... more

Soviet Tanks near Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 28, 1961. Soviet tanks near Checkpoint Charlie sit about 500 feet from the border with West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Hist... more

Soviet Tanks near Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 27, 1961. Soviet tanks gather near Checkpoint Charlie where they engage in a tense face-off with U.S. tanks positioned on the western side. From "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more i... more

Soviet T-4 Tanks at Friedrichstrasse

Oct. 27, 1961. During the confrontation at Checkpoint Charlie, Soviet T-4 tanks move to the border at Friedrichstrasse. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, v... more

U. S. Military Police Escort U. S. Diplomats

Oct. 26, 1961. Members of the U. S. Military Police escort U. S. diplomats through barriers as they cross into East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more informatio... more

East German Reinforcements

Oct. 26, 1961. In a belated show of strength, an East German personnel carrier brings reinforcements to the border, where they line up across Friedrichstrasse facing East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn A... more

U.S. Convoy Crosses into West Berlin

Oct. 26, 1961. East German police officers allow the U.S. convoy to cross the border into West Berlin unchallenged. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit... more

U.S. Military Police Escort U.S. Diplomats

Oct. 26, 1961. U.S. Military Police jeeps prepare an escort for U.S. diplomats trying to return from East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit C... more

U.S. Military Police

Oct. 26, 1961. U.S. Military Police jeeps move in to help U. S. diplomats who were stopped at the border while returning from East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For ... more

U.S. Tank at Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 26, 1961. A U.S. tank stands guard at the border, indicated by the white line, as a car carrying U.S. diplomats returns from East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." ... more

Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 26, 1961. After initially being stopped at the border, U.S. diplomats are escorted into East Berlin by the U. S. Military Police. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more... more

Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 26, 1961. East German soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie stop a car carrying U.S. diplomats into East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA'... more

Checkpoint Charlie

Oct. 25, 1961. U. S. tanks move up to Checkpoint Charlie following a dispute with East Germany over American access to East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known ... more

East German Loudspeakers

Oct. 25, 1961. Loudspeakers project propaganda across the wall into West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections webp... more

West Berlin Factory

Oct. 6, 1961. A view of a West Berlin factory on the border with East Berlin. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the factory’s workers were blasted with Soviet propaganda from loudspeakers on the eastern side of the Berl... more

Prinzenstrasse in East Berlin

Oct. 14, 1961. A sign on a building on Prinzenstrasse in East Berlin reads, "Defending the DDR is Defending Peace," a reference to the abbreviation for the German Democratic Republic or East Germany. From the b... more

East German Construction Workers

Oct. 13, 1961. East German construction workers raise the height of the Berlin Wall to further obstruct views from the West. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more informat... more

East German Masons

Oct. 13, 1961. East German masons work to heighten the wall between East and West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collecti... more

East Berlin

Oct. 10, 1961. Pedestrians in East Berlin glance at East German soldiers near the corner of Heidelbergerstrasse and Elsenstrasse. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more info... more

East German Girl

October 1961. A little girl in East Germany looks through the wire at friends in the Western enclave of Steinstücken. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, vis... more

Willy Finder

Oct. 7, 1961. East German Willy Finder jumps into a net held by residents of West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collecti... more

Michael Finder and Willy Finder

Oct. 7, 1961. Four-year-old Michael Finder of East Germany is tossed by his father into a net held by residents across the border in West Berlin. The father, Willy Finder, then prepares to make the jump himself... more

Margarthe Finder

Oct. 7, 1961. As her husband watches, Margarthe Finder prepares to escape East Germany by jumping across the border into a net held by West Berliners. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin... more

East Germany

Oct. 6, 1961. The site where two young East German men attempted a nighttime crossing of the Spree River in hopes of escaping into West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall."... more

East Germans

Oct. 5, 1961. An East German civilian carries bugging devices and cameras to monitor anyone close to the barbed wire border with West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." F... more

Klemkestrasse

Oct. 20, 1961. Single family houses being demolished at Klemkestrasse on the eastern side of the border between East and West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more ... more

East Germans

October 1961. East Germans continue to clear the land flanking the eastern side of the border, burning what’s left of the houses that were razed to provide a clear line of fire at anyone seeking to cross into W... more

East German Soldiers

October 1961. Young East German soldiers line up for roll call before resuming their work clearing the “death strip” on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the ... more

U. S. Army Helicopter

October 1961. A U. S. Army helicopter makes a daily survey of the East German labor battalions along the border between East and West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." F... more

West German Police

October 1961. Two West German police officers scramble to pick up an East German tear-gas grenade and throw it back. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visi... more

East German Police

October 1961. An East German police officer prepares to throw a tear-gas grenade, as West Berliners jeer in the background. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more informatio... more

Children in East and West Berlin

October 1961. Children keep their friendship across the barbed wire border between East and West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Hist... more

West Berliners

October 1961. West Berliners watch as East Germans prepare the “death strip,” a stretch of land along the eastern side of the Berlin Wall that was cleared to give guards an unobstructed view of anyone seeking t... more

West Berliners

October 1961. West Berliners wave to friends across the border, casting shadows on the wall that divides them. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA'... more

West Berliners

October 1961. West Berliners look over the border at loved ones left behind in East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collec... more

East German Guards

October 1961. East German guards put up panels along the border to shield their activities from West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's ... more

East German Soldiers

October 1961. East German soldiers use guard dogs to track down individuals attempting to escape to West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CI... more

East German Police

October 1961. East German police officers guarding the border zone, as seen through a hole in the Berlin Wall at the intersection of Zimmerstrasse and Markgrafenstrasse. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Bui... more

East German House Demolition

October 1961. East German workers tear down a house on the border with West Berlin, removing cover for those trying to escape to the West. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." Fo... more

East German House Demolition

October 1961. Workers demolish East German houses in the new border area between East and West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Histor... more

East German Construction Workers

Sept. 28, 1961. Heavily guarded East German construction workers demolish train tracks leading into West Berlin at Wornholmer Strasse. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more... more

East German Police

Sept. 24, 1961. As residents of Bernauer Strasse are forcibly evacuated from their homes, the East German police use mirrors to blind reporters and photographers in the West. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart... more

Removing Furniture in East Berlin

Early September 1961. Trucks line up for the removal of furniture from houses that are scheduled for demolition near the border at Bernauer Strasse in East Berlin, part of the effort to provide East German bord... more

East Germany

Sept. 24, 1961. East Germany mandates the destruction of houses along the border at Klauke-Strasse to eliminate cover for refugees crossing to the West. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berl... more

East German Police

September 1961. East German police hand a banner reading, "Down with West German Militarism! Give us a peace treaty!" From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, vi... more

Constructing Berlin Wall

Sept. 18, 1961. Construction of the wall dividing Berlin continues day and night. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections webp... more

President Kennedy and Gen. Clay

Sept. 16, 1961. President John. F. Kennedy holds a meeting at the White House with Gen. Lucius D. Clay, his representative in Berlin in 1961 and 1962. Gen. Clay was the military governor of the U.S. Zone in Ger... more

Propaganda Sign in East Berlin

Sept.15, 1961. A propaganda sign in East Berlin proclaims: “Building our socialism goes on.” From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Coll... more

West Berliner

Sept. 13, 1961. A West Berliner on the banks of Landwehr Canal looks across a double barbed-wire fence into East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, ... more

East German Soldiers

Sept. 6, 1961. Standing with his daughters, a man asks East German soldiers for information about his wife. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's H... more

West Berliners

Sept. 16, 1961. West Berliners wave to friends and family across the Berlin Wall. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections webp... more

West Berliners

Sept. 3, 1961. A West Berliner peeps through a hole into East Germany. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections webpage (www.ci... more

West Berliners

Early September 1961. Two West Berliners show their babies to family members on the other side of the Berlin Wall. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit ... more

Body of East German Refugee

Early September 1961. Police and firemen retrieve the body of a refugee who was shot and killed while trying to escape to West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more... more

East German Soldiers

Early September 1961. East German soldiers turn away a couple trying to cross the border into West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's ... more

Leipziger Strasse

Late August 1961. At the Leipziger Strasse thoroughfare near the border with West Berlin, East German tanks line up to head off possible trouble from East Berliners. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Buildin... more

A Family Separated

Late August 1961. With a goodbye bouquet and clinging hands, a family separated by the border says farewell. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's ... more

An East German Mother

Late August 1961. An East German mother, who just passed her son to her husband in West Berlin, cries as she looks across the border at her husband and son in West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: ... more

A Mother in East Berlin

Late August 1961. With the East German police looking the other way, a mother in East Berlin hands her young son across the border to his father. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wal... more

East Berlin Border

Late August 1961. A worker spreads chemicals to kill weeds and to provide a clear line of fire for the East German guards watching the border for anyone seeking to escape to West Berlin. From the booklet "A Cit... more

East German Soldiers

Late August 1961. East German soldiers carry a post for the barbed wire fence being erected along the East and West Berlin boarder. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more in... more

East German Soldiers

Late August 1961. Two East German soldiers dig holes for a new barbed wire fence near Potsdamer Platz. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Histor... more

East German Guard

Late August 1961. An East German guard jumps to freedom in West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections webpage (www.c... more

East German Guard

Late August 1961. An East German guard jumps to freedom in West Berlin. From the booklet, "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit the CIA's Historical Collections page (w... more

East Berliners

Aug. 26, 1961. While West Berliners distract the East German guards, a few lucky East Berliners make it over the fence to freedom. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more inf... more

East German Police

Late August 1961. An East Berliner is seized by the East German police as he attempts to escape to the West. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's ... more

East German Soldier

Late August 1961. An East German soldier stands guard on the border with West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections... more

U. S. Tank

Late August 1961. West Berliners look on as a U. S. tank guards the Freidrichstrasse border crossing. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Histori... more

British Military Police

Late August 1961. British military police officers look across the border into East Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collec... more

British Patrol Car and East German Armored Vehicle

Late August 1961. A British patrol car passes an East German armored vehicle on a street straddling West and East Berlin. The border runs between the two vehicles. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building... more

Friedrich Strasse-Zimmer Strasse Intersection

Aug. 24, 1961. A U. S. tank and an armored personnel carrier are parked at the Friedrichstrasse-Zimmerstrasse intersection, which is bisected by the East and West Berlin border. From the booklet "A City Torn Ap... more

U. S. Tank

Aug. 23, 1961. A U. S. tank stationed in the Prinzen Platz, West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections webpage (www.... more

Vice President Johnson, West Berlin Mayor Brandt and Col. Glover S. Johns Jr.

Aug. 20, 1961. With Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson looking on, West Berlin Mayor Willi Brandt welcomes Col. Glover S. Johns Jr. and the First Battle Group, 18th Army, U. S. Infantry. From the booklet "A City ... more

Vice President Johnson and Col. Glover S. Johns Jr.

Aug. 20, 1961. During his visit to West Berlin, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson greets Col. Glover S. Johns Jr., commanding officer of the First Battle Group, 18th Army, U. S. Infantry. From the booklet "A Cit... more

First Battle Group, 18th Army, U. S. Infantry

Aug. 20, 1961. West Berliners welcome the arrival of American reinforcements from the First Battle Group, 18th Army, U. S. Infantry. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more i... more

First Battle Group, 18th Army, U. S. Infantry

Aug. 20, 1961. American reinforcements, drawn from the First Battle Group, 18th Army, U. S. Infantry, arrive in West Berlin during Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's visit. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: ... more

Vice President Johnson in West Berlin

Aug. 20, 1961. Accompanied by a young refugee from East Germany, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson greets the crowds at the Marienfelde Refugee Camp during his visit to West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Tor... more

Vice President Johnson in West Berlin

Aug. 20, 1961. A crowd swarms around Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson during his tour of West Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Histor... more

Vice President Johnson in West Berlin

Aug. 19, 1961. Just days after the Berlin border closed, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson flies to West Berlin to signal American support for the city. An honor guard of West German and U. S. troops welcomes hi... more

West Germans Demonstrating

Aug. 16, 1961. A bird's eye view of West Germans protesting the division of Berlin. From the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall." For more information, visit CIA's Historical Collections we... more

West Berlin Demonstration

Aug. 16, 1961. An estimated 250,000 people turn out in West Berlin to denounce the sealing off of the East Zone and to hear West Berlin Mayor Willi Brandt compare the move to Adolf Hitler's occupation of the Rh... more